Fredericton — Because religious ceremonies are not allowed in the province’s “red” phase of COVID recovery while businesses are permitted to remain open, rituals including weddings, funerals and worship services will now take place in the mecca of consumerism: Costco.
“Rites of the devout are arguably more important in these unprecedented times than, say, purchasing a 60-pack of paper towel, but the government unfortunately does not see it this way,” said pastor Ken Richardson of Hanwell. “So now my congregation will gather in the cleaning supplies aisle of Costco, six feet apart, wearing masks. Staff have only asked that we purchase at least one item to qualify as ‘customers’ rather than ‘loiterers.'”
Premier Blaine Higgs applauds the resourcefulness of his constituents.
“See, I like people who come up with solutions rather than just complaining and being a pain in the butt all the time,” he told our reporter. “As a Conservative politician I hold the economy as the highest value in society — far above ‘safety’ or ’empathy’ or any of that crap. So, if you want to spend some money at Costco and get hitched or hold a wake at the same time, far be it from me to stand in your way!”
Anyone in “red” zones may congregate to celebrate the joining of two friends in holy matrimony — as long as that unification takes place in the hallowed halls of Costco.
“I’m getting married at Costco next week,” said Karine LeClare of Saint John. “My fiancé and I have been postponing our wedding for months now, hoping cases decrease, but we figure it’s safe to assume nothing will ever shut Costco down. I’m so excited to finally tie the knot, and all my friends and family are allowed to be there so long as they show their Costco memberships at the door!”
Mourners, too, are thankful that they’re being permitted to celebrate the lives of their dearly departed.
“My great-grandfather died recently, and because we went into the ‘red’ phase, my family was told we’re not allowed to have any sort of funeral — which was only going to be immediate family anyway, because of COVID,” said Hugh Jameson.
“Now, though, we’re able to hold a proper service with all his friends and relatives, in the electronics section of Costco. We’re just going to have to listen to a sales pitch and maybe buy a flatscreen or something, but otherwise it’s not that far off from what Gramps would have wanted. And, bonus, some of the employees who normally do shopping cart retrieval have offered to serve as pallbearers as long as they get paid overtime, which we think is very nice.”
New parents looking to baptize their children in the Catholic faith also need look no further than the popular wholesale chain.
“Our little Monty is six months old on Tuesday. We want him to be baptized before it’s too late,” said Monty’s mother Jill Harris, with a weirdly ominous tone. “So next weekend we’re going to conduct the mass in Costco — the only difference is that our priest will be using Cool Blue Gatorade purchased in bulk from the beverage aisle instead of holy water.”
“Dunked in Gatorade like a football coach during the Super Bowl,” said Kyle Harris, the proud father. “My two favourite Sunday activities have finally come together.”
Some have raised concerns that hosting every service for every religion and denomination in the same location could cause some cultural or spiritual strife.
“Not at all,” said Costco Fredericton’s general manager Clarence Ford, counting through a stack of cash on his desk. “The way I see it, we all serve the same god.”